ARTICLE: Making Time to Read During the Semester

Article contributed to Rad Babes Reads by @booksndragons

Hello everyone! Instead of talking about specific books today, I wanted to bring you some of the ways I make time to read during the semester. It can be a challenge at times between classes, homework, and trying to find the time to have a social life, but it is possible to continue working your way through your TBR during school. Even if you’re not trudging your way through classes, I think these tips could apply in everyday life as well. I won’t lie, sometimes it’s hard but we’re all here because we love books and love reading them, so I think it’s worth it.

1. Create a small manageable TBR pile for the whole semester.

I’m talking two to four books here. This will be your core TBR but that doesn’t mean you can’t read outside of those books. For example, this semester I know I want to read Tower of Dawn, Nevernight (which I’m actually already working on), and Dance of Thieves. These are the three books that I know I want to read throughout the whole semester. They don’t have to be back to back and I can read different books in between them. But, this way I have a set reading goal that I know I want to get done over several months and three books is a lot less intimidating than a twenty book stack ominously leering at me from the corner of my room while I’m trying to write a paper. I’ll typically create a new TBR of three books once I finish with the first three and so on. Most of the time I end up surpassing that first TBR by a ton.

2. Make reading a reward.

If you’re a pintrest browsers like moi, you’ve probably seen a version of this one with gummy bears and paragraphs. I will admit, this is a modified version of that. Textbook reading can be one of the most dull things in the history of ever (that’s ironic if you have to read a history textbook this semester). Twenty pages in a book you want to read, the time flies by. Twenty pages in a text-book, we’ve gone through three ice ages and the sun exploding by the time they’re through. I make reading my reward for getting through textbook pages. I’ll typically set the goal depending on how many pages are in the chapter, how dull I find the material, and how much time untill the reading has to be finished. Most of the time though, my default goal is for every 10 pages, I’ll read a chapter (or three, oops). Not only do you get to read, but there’s also motivation to study. This works with any homework assignment but I mainly use it when reading texts so I don’t forget that I’m actually passionate about reading.

3. Schedule reading time.

We schedule so many things in our lives, why not reading? Sometimes it feels a little frivolous to essentially make an appointment with a book but there’s a reason we all see that “I’m all booked” saying everywhere. Time to read isn’t going to fall into your lap so sometimes you have to carve out the time. I will include it after homework most of the time because then people with think you’re still studying and they’ll leave you alone. It doesn’t have to be a long time, just a chapter or two, an hour if you have it. It doesn’t have to be a daily thing either, or it could, depends on how much time you want to schedule.

4. Bring a book with you everywhere.

I love carrying a physical book with me from time to time but sometimes it’s not a realistic object to be carrying with you, even a Kindle isn’t always practical for on the go. This is where our lovely, lovely smart phones come in. I always have a few ebooks on my phone incase I have time to read while I’m out and about. Instead of going directly to social media while waiting in line, I can sometimes get a few pages in while I’m out, or if I arrive to class early, I have a book with me (though most of the time I carry a physical book with me while I’m on campus). I have a few ebooks that I’ve downloaded onto the Kindle app on my phone but if you want to avoid paying for the more recent/mainstream releases, there is an app for that. Overdrive (I think the new version is called Libby but I haven’t really used that one yet.) is an app where you can hook up your local public library card and check out the ebooks (and audiobook but we’ll get to that in a second) your library carries. I’ve loved this app for years and it’s what I’ll typically use if I read a book before bed. Having access to a book at all times has definitely helped with making time to read during the semester.

5. Audiobooks. Audiobooks. Audiobooks.

Audiobooks are actually life changing. For a long time I only listened to audiobooks of books I have physically read before because I was afraid I’d miss something in the audiobook if I zoned out for even a second (which happens to me all the time) but I recently tried audiobooks of books I hadn’t read before. I did zone out every once in a while but it’s very easy to jump a few seconds back to catch yourself back up. I myself probably wouldn’t listen to every book I read but if there are other tasks you need to get done that eat up your free time and take away from reading time, instead of throwing on netflix or hulu, throw on an audiobook. If you’re fine with paying for audiobooks Audible really is your best option (not sponsored in any way lol, I don’t even have a subscription anymore) but if you want those sweet, sweet free audiobooks, this is where Overdrive and your lovely public library come back in! You can check out audiobooks on Overdrive as well, and they’re the same ones you’d find on audible. I mean, they won’t have everything and it can be disappointing when your library doesn’t have the audiobook you want to listen to but hey, it is free. A little tip for Overdrive, there is a set loan period that you should be able to extend up to 21 days (at least it’s that way for my library, it’s the only one I’ve ever had access to so I don’t actually know if it’s like that for them all). Also, Overdrive does have a Kindle app if you wanted to check out library books on there as well (Wow, this is the app that sounds like it’s being sponsored lol. I swear, I just love the app a lot.)

Go forth and read!

Well folks, those are my tips on how I make time for reading during the semester. I have used these over the past few years and they really have helped a ton. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen though and that is completely okay. Last semester I finished one, maybe two books the entire time and that in itself was a struggle. Don’t force yourself to read if you aren’t feeling it because that’s how we dive deeper and deeper into a slump and the reading becomes a chore. It’s okay to take a break from reading, especially if you have a lot of life stuff on your plate. Reading moods change so much which I know you’ll all get because you’re all bookish people as well. These tips are if you want to be reading more during the semester but feel like you don’t have the time. This is how you make the time.

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